Kimberly Hester, a teacher’s aide in Michigan denied the superintendent of schools access to her facebook account, resulting in suspension and a lawsuit brought by Hester. It began when Hester put a photo of herself on Facebook. A parent of a student, who was friends with Hester, notified the school.
The picture shows that co-worker’s pants around her ankles, and a pair of shoes.
Once the superintendent found out, he asked to see Hester’s Facebook account. She refused. That’s when her troubles began.
A few days later, Lewis Cass ISD superintendent Robert Colby called her into his office.
“He asked me three times if he could view my Facebook and I repeatedly said I was not OK with that,” Hester told WSBT.
In a letter to Hester from the Lewis Cass ISD Special Education Director, he wrote “…in the absence of you voluntarily granting Lewis Cass ISD administration access to you[r] Facebook page, we will assume the worst and act accordingly.”
You have the right to privacy. Hester posted a private picture, which, presumably, is locked down and private, only for her friends to see. The picture was not taken at work (in this case a school) and was not connected to Hester’s job in any way, yet the superintendent chose to “assume the worst” and penalize Hester.
Hester said Colby put her on paid administrative leave and eventually suspended her.
“I have the right to privacy,” she told WSBT.
Meanwhile, Hester chose to take unpaid leave and collect workman’s compensation while she fights a legal battle with the school district. But she’s not backing down.
“I stand by it,” Hester said. “I did nothing wrong. And I would not, still to this day, let them in my Facebook. And I don’t think it’s OK for an employer to ask you.”
According to Facebook’s TOS, you are in violation of their policies by giving out your password and letting other people view your account. While there aren’t yet any federal laws restricting this, you do risk losing your Facebook account or much worse.
Although it could be argued that Hester’s picture was tasteless and crass, it was posted privately and was never intended to be seen outside her private circle of Facebook friends. Again, the only lesson that can be learned here is to either delete your Facebook account or never post anything to it because your employer or the police will always find a way to twist things into your fault, resulting in a loss of employment.
The case is due to go to arbitration on May 8th and it will be curious to see if the 4th and 5th amendments come up during the course of the investigation and arbitration.